July 16, 2004
NEW YORK, NY — We’re sad to report that the rumors about the closing of the Astor Plaza have finally been confirmed.
The S. L. Green Realty Corporation, who became new owners of the building that houses the Astor when they bought the remainder of Loews' lease — plan to convert the facility into a concert venue for live rock during a nine-month renovation.
For those who never experienced the majesty of this theater, it was glorious. While its design was spartan in comparison to the nearby Ziegfeld, the Astor made up for it with its gigantic seating area (1500+ seats), which seemed to suck in anyone and everyone in Times Square who ever loved movies. Friday night premieres were always a blast. And, during the Astor’s lifetime, it played a tremendous number of great movies… King Kong, Jaws, 2001, Superman, When Harry Met Sally, Raiders of the Lost Ark, the Matrix, and more. It will be missed.
(ED. — As many of you noticed, Cinema Treasures got a very nice mention in the Times article.)
July 7, 2004
HAMILTON, ON — The following email was sent in by Loren Lieberman, Executive Director of Creative Arts @ the Tivoli Theatre:
I’m sure that most, if not all of you know what’s going on at the Tivoli. I’ll make it brief for those who don’t. Last Tuesday night part of the roof and wall on the third floor of the Tivoli collapsed. Since then, the city has removed the entire third and fourth floors of the building as well as the marquee.
Some city workers say the destruction will end there, some say the whole building is coming down. Just to be clear – the auditorium is fine and the last 1/3 of the lobby (closest to the auditorium) should come out unscathed, but we stand to lose the oldest part of the Tivoli (it was built as a carriage factory built in 1875).
July 6, 2004
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND — Manchester’s historic Odeon cinema may be closing, according to a report on Manchester Online. The nearly 75-year-old theater is regarded as the oldest theater in the city center.
The article quotes a staff member “who was close to tears” as saying, “This has come as a real bombshell. It will be a terrible loss to Manchester. I hope we all get the chance to fight to keep it open because it is as much a part of the fabric of the city as any of the great buildings we have.”
June 28, 2004
PASADENA, CA — The following email was sent to us by the Friends of the Raymond Theatre:
“Dear Friends of the Raymond Theatre:
It has been a month since the last Raymond Theatre hearing was held and we have a lot of news for our supporters. The Pasadena City Council granted the developer the approvals they required to advance forward to final design review.
HUNTINGTON, WV — The Herald-Dispatch discusses the fate of the Keith Albee as the new Pullman Square project progresses. The mixed-use real estate development will house a new megaplex which threatens the viability of the historic movie palace. For more information visit their special section housing either of these two stories:
“By the look of it, the Hiway Theatre in Middle River, Maryland, just outside of Baltimore, has been gutted and it looks like the entire block is ready to come [down]. The area has been a problem for Baltimore County and new homes have been popping up in the area. A new shopping strip was just opened next door, and it look slike the old theater, which dates back to the late 1940’s is about to be razed. I have photos if anyone is interested.”
June 25, 2004
FULLERTON, CA — The Fox Fullerton, a great old theater, is going to be demolished if the Fullerton Historic Theatre Foundation cannot meet a November deadline to buy the theater from a developer.
The City of Fullerton City Council has been working to help preserve this theater that when restored will have some of the oldest murals (now hidden under painted walls) in Fullerton. The developer who has the property rights has agreed to not demolish if funds top restore the theater can be acquired by November 2004.
This is the only way around an owner that doesn’t seem to want the property to be restored and used for films, even though the AFI has shown interest in showing films and using the theater.
There are numerous ways to help and there is an upcoming fundraiser on Saturday, June 26th. For information visit: www.foxfullerton.org
June 18, 2004
June 8, 2004
CHARLESTON, SC — This is an update to my preservation alert of March 24, 2004 (regarding the Garden Theater). The news is not encouraging. Last week Ralph Hicks and I met with one of the current owners from Garden Theater, LLC. He remains open to any possibility that would benefit the owners. But, he will continue to move toward converting the theater to retail space.
On June 3, Ralph Hicks, Mark Tiedje, and I, met with Lawrence Thompson, and Katherine Saunders of the Historic Charleston Foundation and Mayor Joseph Riley. The mayor was open and well informed about the Garden Theater. He offered nothing to us that seemed hopeful and described the overwhelming problems that we face.
Mayor Riley described the abundance of historic properties in Charleston as a “poverty of riches.” The City has so many 18th century and 19th century buildings that there just aren’t enough resources to preserve them all.
June 3, 2004
RESEDA, CA — The Reseda Theater was built in 1948 by architect S. Charles Lee and is an excellent example of Art Deco and Moderne that characterizes Southern California.
However, the theater has been neglected for several years and is currently boarded up. The facade is still intact and the marquee features a beautiful (unlit) neon sign greeting motorists as they drive down Sherman Way.
I am a board member of the San Fernando Valley and am launching a campaign to preserve this historic theater. Any help whatsover, be it advice, news of events, or even tax-deductible contributions would be very appreciated.